Baked Soles

A simple but excellent Receipt

Method

Fresh large soles, dressed in the following manner, are remarkably tender and delicate eating; much more so than those which are fried. After the fish has been skinned and cleansed in the usual way, wipe it dry, and let it remain for an hour or more, if time will permit, closely folded in a clean cloth; then mix with a slightly beaten egg about an ounce of butter, just liquefied but not heated at the mouth of the oven, or before the fire; brush the fish in every part with this mixture, and cover it with very fine dry bread-crumbs, seasoned with a little salt, cayenne, pounded mace, and nutmeg. Pour a teaspoonful or two of liquid butter into a flat dish which will contain the fish well; lay it in, sprinkle it with a little more butter, press the breadcrumbs lightly on it with a broad-bladed knife, and bake it in a moderate oven for about twenty minutes. If two or more soles are required for table at the same time, they should be placed separately, quite flat, in a large dish, or each fish should be laid on a dish by itself. On our first essay of this receipt, the fish dressed by it (it was baked for twenty-five minutes in a very slack iron oven) proved infinitely nicer than one of the same size which was fried, and served with it The difference between them was very marked, especially as regarded the exceeding tenderness of the flesh of that which was baked; its appearance, however, would have been somewhat improved by a rather quicker oven. When ready to serve, it should be gently glided on to the dish in which it is to be sent to table. About three ounces of bread-crumbs, and two and a half of butter, will be sufficient for a large pair of soles. They will be more perfectly encrusted with the bread if dipped into, or sprinkled with it a second time, after the first coating has been well moistened with the better.